By Todd Hummel
For The Daily Item
MILTON -- Confidence is a funny thing in sports, especially in baseball.
On paper, despite a league loss to Mifflinburg on Tuesday, Milton had every reason to think Wednesday afternoon's Heartland Athletic Conference-cross over game with Warrior Run would get them on track.
The Defenders had dropped six games in a row since a 2-0 start and had only played their first seven-inning game in that stretch in a nine-run loss to Hughesville on Tuesday.
But a funny thing happened; Warrior Run took an early lead and gained confidence, while Milton looked like the team that was struggling.
So when the Black Panthers rallied to tie the game in the fifth inning, the Defenders were able to scratch together two runs in their next at-bat to take the nonleague contest 6-4 and snap that six-game slide.
"It's a real big win (for us)," Warrior Run coach Shane Keister said. "You play some defense behind your pitcher, you get some confidence."
The game looked to be going according to script after the Defenders went in order in the first inning on just four pitches, while Milton took advantage of a Warrior Run error and a Jordon Bordner RBI single to take a 1-0 lead.
"I wasn't real pleased with the four-pitch first inning," Keister said. "They had some good approaches (after the first innings) and lay off the curveball and waited for fastball."
However, Warrior Run pitcher Hunter Raup escaped a bases-loaded loaded jam in the first inning and his teammates were able to give him a 3-1 lead in its next two at bats.
Hunter Stroup led off the second with a double and later came around to score on a double-play grounder. A Johnny LaBarron single and a Milton error followed by a two-run single by Stroup led to two runs in the third.